Second Compact roars into life

Second Compact roars into life

MASERU – THE Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has granted the Lesotho government M88.1 million to cover costs associated with the development of second compact.

The fund, signed for at the US Embassy yesterday, will also cover the required feasibility studies.
Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro, said the signing of the grant agreement is a critical milestone in the compact development process which has now reached its third phase.

“The first two phases of the compact development process focused on the problem diagnosis, namely identification of binding constraints, and their root cause,” Majoro said.

He added that the current phase focuses on defining specific projects and programmes for resolving identified problems.
The first two phases are said to have been funded fully by the government of Lesotho and an amount of M7 million was set aside for this purpose.

“The resource requirements of this phase are significant and diverse and as a result, the MCC has made available to government the additional funding to be used from subsequent phases of compact development,” Majoro said.
The second compact aims to reduce poverty in Lesotho through planning and delivery of public goods and services to create the environment for inclusive equitable and sustainable private sector-led growth targeting commercial agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, culture and creative industries, and health.

Majoro said the government is fully committed to partner with the private sector not only to mobilise capital but to co-create solutions for improved public service and good delivery.
“It is anticipated that the third phase of the compact development process will be completed in April this year, with the fourth phase and final phase ending December 2019 and June 2020 respectively,” he said.
In 2007, the MCC signed M5.13 billion compact with the government of Lesotho to fund projects in the health, water and private sectors.
The US Ambassador, Rebecca Gonzales, said strengthening institutions of accountability is necessary for the progress on the second MCC compact.

“The watchdogs of public interest must be empowered and able to take action. For that, they need two things – sufficient resources and genuine independence to conduct their work,” Gonzales said.
She said when in place the United States can be confident that their investments will reach every corner of the country to help Basotho.
“As part of the compact development, we look forward to working with our Basotho partners to identify concrete steps to strengthen institutions of accountability around public goods delivery,” she said.

Gonzales said although much still needs to be done, the first compact progress is worthy of being celebrated.
“Lesotho can be proud of its progress toward reaching to epidemic control of HIV/AIDS including investments made in MCC first compact that strengthened the country’s health care system and its ability to deliver quality services,” she said.
She added that developments in the water sector made possible with the support of the first compact were to provide secure, adequate, sustainable, clean water supply and sanitation services to rural and urban consumers.

“America’s (contribution) in the Metolong Dam and in digging 30 000 latrines helped realize that goal,” she said.
Despite these achievements, Gonzales emphasised that critical work needs to be done.

“The promise of economic developments still eludes so many Basotho who dream of a day when the vicious threat of poverty is not starring them in the face,” she said.
“We can and must confront these challenges together to achieve common objective of a healthy, prosperous and peaceful Lesotho.”

Staff Reporter

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